On March 13, 2020, Administration and General Supervision Committee of the High Court decided in a meeting held in Chamber of Chief Justice DN Patel that in the wake of outbreak of COVID-19, Delhi High Court shall restrict its hearing only to the urgent matters.
In the presence of Chief Justice along with other High Court Judges, it was decided that High Court will take up only urgent matters from Monday (March 16, 2020) and dates in routine matters shall be given by the court master before the court assembles.
Delhi High Court has also restricted the entry of interns in the court premises and has directed that fresh intern passes shall not be issued until March 31, 2020.
In the notification issued for the same, the committee has urged to the President and General Secretary of respective Districts Court Bar Associations to direct the lawyers to call their clients to court only when it is necessary and also to issue notice if required regarding the same.
All District & Session Judges and Principle Judges, Family Court have also been directed to issue directions regarding the same and Mediation Centres have been asked to list matters for hearing only in case of emergency.
The committee has also issued directions for installation of thermal scanners at all entries of the court premises and postponed all functions/elections which are to be held in the court premises.
They have also urged courts to accommodate all parties/witnesses/advocates seeking adjournment and has asked all courts to "favourably consider" requests for exemptions in all criminal matters.
Furthermore, direction has been made to the Delhi International Arbitration Centre, Delhi High Court Mediation and Conciliation Centre (Samadhan) and the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee to hold proceedings only in emergency situations.
The Supreme Court has also issued a notification restricting functioning of the Court to urgent matters with such number of Benches as may be found appropriate.
Author – Satwik Sharma